Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cars as works of art

If you are in Atlanta during the next two weeks, make a point to visit the High Museum of Art's delightful exhibit on concept cars.  These are most definitely not your typical Detroit Coffin.

The detail is often more beautiful than the overall lines (which are beautiful indeed).

It's a wonderful exhibit, and has been extended until mid September.  Recommended.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Stay tuned for a secret announcement. An under cover announcement, you might say.

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The secret to happiness

Me, I recommend getting a motorcycle.  Your mileage may vary.

About Obama's search for a "strategy"

Clint Eastwood sure called this.

Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen - Hot Rod Lincoln

I'm headed in to the ATL today to go to the High Museum of Art which has an exhibit of concept cars - 1950s ones that look like space ships, that sort of thing.  The art of the car, as it were.  I'm expecting some hot wheels.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Government is what we choose to do together. Like ignoring mass child rape.

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.
- Thomas Jefferson
If you want to understand the rise of the so-called neo-fascist parties in Europe - Marine Le Pen and the Front National, Jorg Haider, or the British National Party - all you need to do is look at what happened in Rotherham (and seemingly many other boroughs in Her Majesty’s Scepter'd Isle).  An elite who keeps itself safe from the predations seen in Rotherham (where hundreds of children were gang raped over the course of a decade or two) refused to take any action to stop the predations.

Whether this was from an excess of political indoctrination or a class-based contempt of poorer UK natives is an interesting discussion.  And entirely irrelevant.

You simply cannot look at Marine Le Pen, or Jorg Heider, or John Tyndall of the BNP, or Nikolaos Michaloliakos of Golden Dawn without understanding that Rotherham has been happening for a long, long time all over Europe.  There's your "rape culture".

But these are political parties, waxing in strength without doubt but engaged in discussion, not direct action. Anders Behring Breivik shows that there is a part of Europe that is done waiting for that debate to show results.  Indeed, Breivik targeted the children of the ruling elite - a look at the normalization of the rape of native European children in Rotherham tells you everything that you need to know to viscerally understand Breivik's mind set and his choice of targets.

And so the pyre is ignited.  The flames lick the foundations of civilization - but really, just what sort of civilization is it that will not stop institutionalized child rape?  Enoch Powell was right - a river of blood is in Europe's future.  America has prevented that for the last 70 years, but as American influence has receded there, the old decadent European elite has assumed the mantle of governance.

Remember, government is what we choose to do together:
Rotherham council's chief executive, Martin Kimber, said he accepted the report and the recommendations made and apologised to the victims of abuse.

He said: "The report does not make comfortable reading in its account of the horrific experiences of some young people in the past, and I would like to reiterate our sincere apology to those who were let down when they needed help.
There - he said he was sincerely sorry for a decade or more of many hundreds of gang raped children.  Saying sorry is what you're supposed to do, right?

Butt nobody is being fired.  And that is all you need to know to understand the exploding popularity of the Front National, or Golden Dawn.  The Left should be invested in good governance, not because they're the party of Big Government, but because they are sowing the whirlwind.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.
- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pink Floyd - Dogs

A rant is coming tomorrow.  In the meantime this song is prophetic.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You'll get the chance to put the knife in

Shopping at Kroger

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Government as a Unicorn

This is pretty insightful:
When I am discussing the State with my colleagues at Duke, it's not long before I realize that, for them, almost without exception, the State is a unicorn. I come from the Public Choice tradition, which tends to emphasize consequentialist arguments more than natural rights, and so the distinction is particularly important for me. My friends generally dislike politicians, find democracy messy and distasteful, and object to the brutality and coercive excesses of foreign wars, the war on drugs, and the spying of the NSA.
But their solution is, without exception, to expand the power of "the State." That seems literally insane to me—a non sequitur of such monstrous proportions that I had trouble taking it seriously.
Then I realized that they want a kind of unicorn, a State that has the properties, motivations, knowledge, and abilities that they can imagine for it. When I finally realized that we were talking past each other, I felt kind of dumb. Because essentially this very realization—that people who favor expansion of government imagine a State different from the one possible in the physical world—has been a core part of the argument made by classical liberals for at least 300 years.
What I like about this is that it gives a credible framework to have an actual non-shouting discussion with both traditional progressives and traditional conservatives.

It's what you do instead of doing something

Bluegrass Bruce finds some idiocy in New York City:
New York City lawmakers are calling for a public database of gun offenders modeled on the national sex offender registry.  The proposal would create a website listing the name, address and conviction of “gun criminals” in New York City.

Supporters of this effort argue that it will increase public safety by educating the general public as to the whereabouts of dangerous criminals.

“It will make our communities more aware of who is in our neighborhood and what actions they have taken,” said New York City Councilman Costa Constantinides, who sponsored a bill in support of this effort. “Part of public safety is knowing who is on the field.”
I know, you're as shocked as I am to find idiocy in NYC, especially around gun laws.  I would point out to Councilman Constantinides that his statute will last until someone points out the disproportionate race impact of the names on the list ...

How much is $100 worth?

No, this isn't a trick question.  The answer depends on what State you live in:
A new map released by the Tax Foundation shows exactly how far $100 would go in all 50 states.

Using recently released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Tax Foundation was able to show exactly how the varying prices of goods, housing and income taxes in each state can impact consumers’ purchasing power.
Southerners and Midwesterners have a serious edge over those along the East and West Coasts. A hundred bucks goes the furthest in Mississippi, where $100 will buy you what would cost $115.74 in another state that's closer to the national average. As the Tax Foundation puts it, Missippians are about 15% richer than their nominal incomes suggest. The next low-price states are Arkansas ($114.16), Missouri ($113.51), and Alabama ($113.51). Meanwhile, $100 would only be worth $84.60 in the District of Columbia, the priciest state, $85.32 in Hawaii, $86.66 in New York and $87.64 in nearby New Jersey.
Blue States are expensive to live in and reduce your standard of living?  This is my shocked face ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Motorcycle vs. Jet Plane

Of course, it was a jet powered motorcycle.

Zero to over 200 MPH in 14 seconds.  [blink] [blink]

At $180,000 I guess I don't have to worry what I'd do on this beast ...

Rape culture

It's real: Revealed: How fear of being seen as racist stopped social workers saving up to 1,400 children from sexual exploitation at the hands of Asian men in just ONE TOWN

I would describe the state of Progressive Intellectuals as "frivolous" but that really does not capture the situation at all.  The cowardly way that these people stood by when they knew of the abuse, combined with the smug arrogance that assumes that they're smarter, nicer, and more noble than you and me - "frivolous" is not at all le mot juste. There is a word for this but I try to keep the language here at the PG level.

And the same people who think exactly the same way as the Rotherham town council are bleating on about "rape culture" at American Universities. 

OK, gentle readers - should I do "Kilted To Kick Cancer"?

It was Prostate cancer that took Dad, and so I have a motivation.  Plus I'm told that I have particularly good legs, and so this would be a public service for my Lady Readers.  But it's a good cause, with a good sense of humor, which I find attractive.

But some things cannot be unseen.  And so, my question to you: should I spring for the kilt and put my dignity on the line, for a good cause?  Discuss in the comments section.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stay Cats - Foggy Moutain Breakdown

Pretty darn good, actually.

What does government planning do to people's homes?

It shrinks them:
Ever since the British parliament passed the Town & Country Planning Act in 1947, housing in that nation has gotten less and less affordable. As a result, the average size of new homes today is only 925 square feet, down 44 percent from the average size in 1920. Meanwhile, the average size of new home in the United States in 2013 was 2,598 square feet, up 56 percent from 1,660 square feet forty years before.

Eric Pickles, Britain’s community secretary, blames the problem on “Labour policy, which decreed that at least 30 homes had to be built on every hectare of land” (about 12 per acre). But we know the problems go back well before the previous government, and the Tories had plenty of chances to reverse the policies in the Town & Country Planning Act.
As the post points out, this isn't a party issue - both major parties are essentially identical on this, just as both major US parties are identical on the issue of immigration.

Instead, this is an issue of class war waged by a self-anointed "elite" against a middle class they hold in contempt.

Sonet 66

Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour, thou most worthy judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.
- Book of Common Prayer
When it is time for me to bid fare thee well to this mortal coil, I should like Brigid to send my soul Bound For Glory.  If she is unavailable, I shall have to settle for second best (say, the Bard of Avon).  Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.

It's hardest for those left behind when Eternity comes as a bolt from a clear blue sky.  Our prayers go out to SciFiChick, and even more to her family, grappling with the dream turned suddenly to dust.

Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Dick Dale - Pipeline

This has everything: Stevie Ray, THE Dick Dale, Annette Funicello, Gilligan and the Skipper, big '80s hair, pink suits and Wayfarers, and screaming guitars.  This is why we beat the Commie Bastards.

You're welcome.

Bacon. Now even more awesome.

The Hitler Diaries v2.0

I call fake:

First Superman comic is expected to fetch millions on eBay

The copy of Action Comics #1 is said to be in the best condition of any copy currently in existence.


According to Cnet, the copy soon to be auctioned on eBay was rated by the Certified Guaranty Company, a well-known comic book quality rating company, as having a condition of 9.0 out of 10, the highest quality rating a copy of Action Comics #1 has ever received. The colors are said to be vibrant, and it even has white pages where most existing copies have long since yellowed.
These were printed on pulp paper, the cheapest available at the time (well, maybe newsprint was a little cheaper, but not much).  There was a ton of acid residue left over in the paper, which is why these things would yellow over time.  This is why when you have a particularly nice piece of art framed that you use "acid free" matting.

This is a hoax, just like the Diaries.  And for precisely the same reason. But this does highlight the first rule of eBay: "A [blank] and his [blank] are soon [blank]."  There will be a short quiz at the end of the day.

Things A-10 Pilots don't say

Entirely safe for work.  Like I said, it's things they don't say ...


Sunday, August 24, 2014

My view yesterday from the motorcycle

Ah, whatever cools you off.  Hiding out at the bank's ATM works pretty well when it's covered.

What I love about living in Hotlanta

You can say to someone "Hey, remember that time it snowed?" and they will know exactly which day you're talking about.

More manipulating climate data

Oh hum, same old boring scientists-are-changing-the-climate-data story.  What's different is that now it's starting to be reported in the news media, Down Under at least:
One of the most extreme examples is a thermometer station in Amberley, Queensland where a cooling trend in minima of 1C per century has been homogenized and become a warming trend of 2.5C per century. This is a station at an airforce base that has no recorded move since 1941, nor had a change in instrumentation. It is a well-maintained site near a perimeter fence, yet the homogenisation process produces a remarkable transformation of the original records, and rather begs the question of how accurately we know Australian trends at all when the thermometers are seemingly so bad at recording the real temperature of an area. Ken Stewart was the first to notice this anomaly and many others when he compared the raw data to the new, adjusted ACORN data set.  Jennifer Marohasy picked it up, and investigated it and 30 or so other stations. In Rutherglen in Victoria, a cooling trend of -0.35C became a warming trend  of +1.73C. She raised her concerns (repeatedly) with Minister Greg Hunt.

Now the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has been forced to try to explain the large adjustments. Australians may finally gain a better understanding of what “record” temperatures mean, and the certainty ascribed to national trends. There is both a feature and a news piece today in The Weekend Australian. – Jo Nova The heat is on. Bureau of Meteorology ‘altering climate figures’ — The Australian
Here's what "peer-reviewed climate science" looks like:

In other the-data-are-bad news, the National Climate Data Center's feed of record temperatures has gone missing.  Is it a regular government screw up, or is it because cold records outnumber warm records by three to one this summer?  The World wonders,  But don't you dare question the white lab coat Priests of the Great Warming, prole.  Pay no attention to the crummy data everywhere.  Know your place. 

Hat tip: Rick, via email.

The content-less blog

While it might be an exaggeration to things this way, I've been so busy lately that I haven't been posting on my regular schedule or with as much thoughtful analysis as usual (there's a scary thought, that my posts had thoughtful analysis).  What's unusual is why I've been so busy - I've been much more social the last week and a half or so.  It's been very nice indeed to hang out with friends, rather than on the 'net.  And that's looking to continue for today, too.

And so as an apology to my gentle readers, all blog posts shall be entirely free for the rest of the weekend. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The weather today

Oh Lord!

Yes sir!

Good thing it's not too hot on moving day

And by "not too hot" I mean "good thing it's the hottest day of the year".

Helping a friend move. #2 Son has Zombie Response well in hand.

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Tedeschi Trucks Band - Bound for Glory

My aunt was a fine lady, and a pillar of her church.  I have no doubt that she's Glory Bound.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Motorcycle project continues

Das Bike before:

Das Bike after a long lunch hour in the hot sun and with a skinned knuckle or two:

Sissy bar and saddle bags.

Because everyone needs to be safe when I'm popping wheelies ...

Because I'm all about safety.  So after about $800, I'm about where the other bike I had wanted was, only this only has 6,000  miles instead of 30,000.

Nigerian scammers stageting Global Warming believers and Democrats

I'm not making this up:
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the “William J. Clinton Foundation” are giving away $900,000 — but first you need to send in your date of birth and marital status to obtain the prize.

The scam letter says it has only been sent to “18 lucky recipients” and informs the receiver that the UNFCCC is awarding the “yearly award” of $900,000 to celebrate its 18th anniversary — the first contradiction in a series of red flags.

The prizes will be given for the recipient’s “personal business development and enhancement of their educational plans and to create awareness in their community on the dangers posed on our planet by climate change as a result of pollution and Environmental Degradation,” the letter says.

It includes an email code number and batch number to claim the award. The sender must give a full name, country, contact address, telephone number, fax number, marital status, occupation, date of birth, gender and alternative email to receive the prize.
[Insert snarky comment here]

Saddle bags for the motorcycle are here

And a sissy bar.  Pics when I get the time to put them on the bike.  It's sort of like Christmas morning - some assembly required.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A prayer

I will not die this way.

I'm told that my aunt died in her apartment while she was up and around in one of the rooms.  The apartment manager began to wonder why she hadn't picked up her main in a few days.  Now we're trying to figure out how to get that room cleaned before Mom goes to visit.  This is a nasty business about a woman who did not deserve this end.

I'm not even sure what to write here, other than my kith and kin will not have to do this for me, if I have any say in the matter.  Life is more than being discovered days later.

Carpe diem.  Seize your life and don't let go.  Tempus fugit.  Better this way, which was how she lived her life:

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way

O sisters let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O sisters let's go down,
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way

O brothers let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
Come on brothers let's go down,
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way

O sinners let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O sinners let's go down,
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way
LORD, show me the way, for I will not willingly take that way.  But if this be Thy will, praise be to The in all Thy works.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rest in peace, Aunt Ann

She was a great aunt; I wish I had always been the nephew she deserved.

She was a pillar of her church, and so let flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.

Go to heaven a'shouting love for the Father and the Son.


Pharoah Sanders - Kazuko

Recorded in an abandoned (World War II heritage?) tunnel in Marin headlands just north of the Golden Gate.  This is the San Francisco scene at what was perhaps its peak, in 1982.  Like the tunnel, abandoned, but a tangible reminder of a vigorous past.

What climate disasters does Global Warming cause?

Snow in the UK in August:

So much for summer: Snow set to blast Scotland as forecasters warn of 'coldest August spell in a century'

  • Forecasters have warned that Cumbria and Yorkshire could see the coldest August spell in 95 years
  • The temperature rose no higher than 8.9C in 1919 and it is expected to dip that low again later this week
  • Snow is predicted in the mountains of Scotland as a stubborn band of low pressure drags air in from the north
  • Experts are predicting scattered showers, cool temperatures and windy weather for the next two weeks
  • MeteoGroup has said said there is 'not much to be optimistic about' as the Bank Holiday weather looks 'disappointing'
No doubt all Right Thinking People® will sniff that I am pointing out localized weather, not climate change.  My response is that I'm just playing the same game that they play whenever there is a flood, hurricane, or warm spell*.

Which is another way of pointing out the difference between weather and climate: weather is a localized event unrelated to overall global climate; climate is anything that proves Global Warming™.

Hat tip: 2cents via email.

* My response would also be "neener neener" but that would be juvenile and disrespectful.

How do you say "Hey, NSA! Look over here!" on the Internet?

Use an encryption cipher custom designed by al Qaeda:
The web intelligence firm Recorded Future has posted two stories about how al Qaeda is using new encryption software in response to the Snowden disclosures. NPR picked up the story a week later.


My guess is that in this case they don't even bother with the encryption software; they just attack the users' computers. There's nothing that screams "hack me" more than using specially designed al Qaeda encryption software. There's probably a QUANTUMINSERT attack and FOXACID exploit already set on automatic fire.
[blink] [blink]

I'm glad to see our enemies so monumentally stupid as to shine a searchlight on themselves.  Awesome.

I've been very critical about how NSA is spying on citizens unsuspected of any crime, but this seems to be precisely what they should be doing.  I'm even OK with secret FISA court warrants allowing automated monitoring (and even attacking) anyone using al Qaeda code.  Seems like that falls under "probable cause" to me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The ten dumbest 911 phone calls

I like the girl whose boyfriend wouldn't propose.

Congratulations to the Silicon Graybeard

His hit counter just rolled over 1 Million views.

Police work is stressful

Because cops have to deal with this sort of thing:
At 5.45pm on Monday 11 August, [Portland, OR] North Precinct officers received a phone call about a chicken wandering across Highway 30 in Linnton.

The police announcement is headed "Officers Unable to Determine Chicken's Intent". And it goes on:

"This is not a prank call", the caller said. "There is actually a chicken trying to cross the road. It's really trying to go into the middle. I had to slow down to almost a complete stop."
The urge to tase the caller must have been exceptional, and the Portland PD is to be commended for showing the manly self control needed when Justice and all the Angels of Heaven were crying out to give the caller a jolly good thrashing.


We always overestimate the importance of things that are close to us.

There's likely an evolutionary advantage to that.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Songs about motorcycles

Not what you're thinking ...


Both the question and the answer.

So just who is it that's trying to infect your computer?

It looks like it's the Western Intelligence Agencies:
There's a new story on the c't magazin website about a 5-Eyes program to infect computers around the world for use as launching pads for attacks. These are not target computers; these are innocent third parties.

The article actually talks about several government programs. HACIENDA is a GCHQ program to port-scan entire countries, looking for vulnerable computers to attack. According to the undated GCHQ slide, they've completed port scans of 27 different countries and are prepared to do more.

The point of this is to create ORBs, or Operational Relay Boxes. Basically, these are computers that sit between the attacker and the target, and are designed to obscure the true origins of an attack.
Given the history of data sharing between the 5-Eyes agencies (Intelligence agencies from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), I'm not at all confident that, say, GCHQ (the UK's equivalent of the NSA) is not infecting US computers, and NSA isn't infecting UK ones.

This is out of control.

How bad are the public sector unions?

So bad that the French are mocking them:
But that may not be enough to placate one disgruntled passenger, who became so fed up with problems on France's railways he has decided to create a satirical board game in which players seek ways of creating the maximum number of delays.
In Cheminot Simulator (Rail Worker Simulator), unionised rail staff with cushy conditions seek to work as little as possible and make life hell for passengers in a variety of ways, from strike action and work stoppages, to snow on the line and assault.
The player who wreaks the longest delays wins the game – a concept that has created a buzz at a time when millions take to the railways during the holiday season.
Remember, it's a French guy who designed a game making fun on public sector unions.  You know, those Ecole Polytechnique technocrats who our ruling class think we should ape.  Of course none of the game publishers will touch this with a trois metres pole:
However, the creator found it impossible to get game publishers interested, as they told him it was "too risky".
Yeah, I'll bet.
In the end, he managed to raise 11,000 euros via a crowdfunding website and by partnering with another site called Un Train de Retard (A Train Late), which publishes the total number of train delays noted by passengers. It currently stands at 752 days, 19 hours and 49 minutes this year.

He has since received 300 internet orders.
Yeah, I'll bet it's more than that by now.

Via Peter, who you do read every day.  Right?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Things you can say about some things, but not your girlfriend

Safe for work, but naughty - err, that's the point, right?  I love the motorcycle ones.

What a good day

Yesterday I met up with friends to go into the ATL - I don't think I've done that in 6 months or more.  Yes it was hot, but not bad for Atlanta in August.  BBQ was eaten.  Conversation silly and deep was had.  The Art festival at Piedmont Park wasn't packed like I'd feared (I'm not keen on crowds).  Snow cones and popcorn and wandering sure was fun.

The park itself is a refuge for half tame wild life.  Everything looked well fed, so the kids have presumably been bringing bread for the ducks and assorted other inner city welfare birds.

It was one of the best times I've had in ages.  I shall have to do this again.  Sure cut into my blogging, though.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pig roast

I need to start going to some BBQ festivals on the motorcycle, maybe meeting up with buddies on motorcycles (*cough* Uncle Jay *cough*).

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Hawtie Hogs

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This is pretty big news if it all holds up: Viking Ship Unearthed In Memphis.

Of course it was well known that climate was much warmer when the Vikings sailed to the New World (at least until Michael Mann tried to disappear the Medieval Warm Period down the Memory Hole of Inconvenient Truths).  And it's quite likely that large scale migrations via the sea were common, or at least not unusual.

New Riders of the Purple Sage - Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And loud, Loud Music)

Today is the Atlanta BBQ Festival.  Expect pictures later.  But this begs the question - is there a Country Music song about BBQ?  If you're wondering, you must be new here ...

A hotbed of country music in the late 1960s was - perhaps surprisingly - the San Francisco of Haight Ashbury.  Gram Parsons had perhaps the greatest long term impact, but The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia joined with some friends to form the New Riders of the Purple Sage (a country band named after the Zane Grey novel).  It was pretty straight up western swing classics with a solar system of orbiting friends from Big Brother And The Holding Company to Country Joe And The Fish.

This is an old Flatt & Scruggs song, played out of the smoke of San Francisco Beat bars.  It was a groovy scene, dig?  Err, with steel guitars.  You might think that the smoke in the song might have been something other than BBQ; I couldn't possibly comment.

Quite frankly, this sort of creative recombination and synthesis is precisely why we beat the Godless Commies in the Cold War.  Really.

Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And loud, Loud Music) (Songwriters: Joe Maphis, Rose Lee Maphis, Max Fidler)
Dim lights, thick smoke, and loud, loud music
Is the only kind of life you'll ever understand
Dim lights, thick smoke and loud, loud music
You'll never make a wife to a home-loving man
A home and little children mean nothing to you
A house filled with love and a husband so true
You'd rather have a drink with the first guy you meet
And the only home you'll know is the club down the street

Dim lights, thick smoke, and loud, loud music
Is the only kind of life you'll ever understand
Dim lights, thick smoke and loud, loud music
You'll never make a wife to a home-loving man
A drinking and dancing to a honky tonk band
Is the only kind of life you'll ever understand
Go out and have your fun, you think you've played it smart
I'm sorry for you and your honky tonk heart

Dim lights, thick smoke, and loud, loud music
Is the only kind of life you'll ever understand
Dim lights, thick smoke and loud, loud music
You'll never make a wife to a home-loving man

Friday, August 15, 2014

I hate to say I told you so

But I told you so, five years ago.  Scarborough: Senior Democratic Senators, Close Political Allies Tell Me Obama Is "Checked Out".

And as to the health of the Republic, a GOP that (with reason) does not fear him will delight in thwarting him at every turn, and the Tea Party insurgency will wax as Progressives everywhere despair.  Good thing that Romney didn't win.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How many rounds will a restraining order stop?

A friend worked with a woman who was separated from her husband.  There was some unpleasantness involved, and so she got a restraining order.

Yesterday he showed up and shot her three times, killing her.  Then he shot himself.  Their 14 year old daughter is now an orphan.

There's sometimes a darkness in some people's souls.  Hug your children.  Embrace the light.

And prepare for the worst.

Alzheimer's, as documented by an artist's self portraits

The Geek In Heels finds a very moving series of self portraits from an Altzheimer's sufferer.  It starts with this:

And progresses with the disease:

That's only the third in the series of nine.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, these are a painter's equivalent of Flowers For Algernon.  This is what art is for, even when it is heartbreaking.  Especially when it is heartbreaking.

Ever wonder why someone takes a hiatus from blogging?


Playing 1880s baseball in a ghost town

Bluesun emails to point to this bit of nostalgia in action: 1880s baseball technology and rules, recreated every year in a ghost town:

You can see the reverse side of the mitt. Not much to work with!

Center field is the hill covered in sage brush.  The mitts are basically big dinner plates of leather with minimal padding.  Use two hands to make the catches!

Lots more at the link.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Interlude, with silos

When we moved here to Roswell in 1997, this was the end of civilization.  Now it's deep in the heart of suburbia.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.
- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Good luck with that here in the ATL ...

When is it time to patch Adobe Flash?

On any day ending with "-day":
Adobe has patched seven vulnerabilities in its Flash and Air platforms and one in Reader and Acrobat that is being exploited by attackers.

The vulnerabilities could allow attacker to "take control of affected systems" dubbed critical by the company.
Sort of the usual opening to these sorts of reports.  Notice the part about being actively exploited.  Flash, of course, is the technology that drives Youtube and other Internet video.  Reader is what is very often used to read PDF files.  That means that pretty much everyone needs to get these updates, tout suite.

The Flash update can be found here.  The Reader update is here.

Lord Of The Rings geekery

Why didn't they just fly the ring to Mt. Doom on the eagles?  Actually, this sort of makes sense.

Hat tip: A Large Regular, who has a ton more cool stuff.

The Black Hole of Awesome

Stretch emails to point out a site that is so filled with Awesome that it's in danger of collapsing into a black hole of awesome.  Guns and Motorcycles:

That's a Thompson and a Bren.  Do want.  Lots more at the link.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happiness is putting a bit of stick about

House Of Cards reference is purely not accidental.

Why you (yes you!) should work for the NSA

Because [redacted - Borepatch] great place to start.  Like this:

So what do I think?  I might be holding out for something better ...

R.I.P. Robin Williams

Thanks for making us laugh.  And for so much more.

It's a sadly common feeling, that one that makes puppies cry in the middle of the night, and people walk off stage in their prime.  Very sad indeed.  But time's up.

Time's up. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Go ask your parents, kids

Notice which one spells properly.

If NSA strikes him down he will become more powerful than they can possibly imagine

The secure email service Lavabit shut itself down rather than expose its customers to court ordered NSA surveillance.  And so Lavabit's founder decided to build it better, so that it would be impossible for NSA to do it again:
DefCon Lavabit founder Ladar Levison will within six months carve out a military-grade email service from the ashes of Ed Snowden's favourite email client.

As many of you will remember, Levison killed the service to prevent his clients' information from getting into the clutches of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.


Dark Mail has since expanded to include the Magma email server and the Volcano Mozilla Thunderbird desktop client, and has been re-badged as the Dark Internet Mail Environment (DIME).

The platform broke up email headers encrypting each piece before it was sent and was built so that no single service could hold all of the data - a bid to shake off further Lavabit-style requests from government spy agencies.
The NSA has shot itself in the foot.  Not only have many people in the security community refused to cooperate with them anymore, some very smart folks have chosen to actively try to make NSA's life more difficult.

Me, I don't expect that NSA can possibly reform itself, and likely it will double down on its counter productive domestic snooping.  That will keep pouring gasoline on this fire, leading to even less cooperation and even more active monkey wrenching.

Smart guys there at Ft. Meade.

Sad news

My favorite science writer, Nigel Calder, has died:
Nigel Calder, who has died aged 82, became one of Britain's most distinguished science writers during decades of almost explosive advance in all fields of global science. He was one of the founders, and for a while editor, of New Scientist, one of the world's most successful science news journals. He wrote and produced a series of BBC television spectaculars that explored this planet, the solar system, the galaxy and the universe beyond, and in the course of 50 years he wrote or edited at least 37 books.

He had a gift for economy, clarity and vividness perfectly suited to the changing needs of journalism and the increasing complexity of discovery. Although he began his career as a physicist, he understood the important vital divide between journalism and research, and even half apologised for testing a hypothesis with his own experiment, "albeit reluctantly," he said afterwards, "because I do not think science writers should dabble in research as a rule, any more than lobby correspondents should stage a coup d'etat".
My favorite of his books is The English Channel, a book where he sailed his sloop up the French side of the English Channel and then back down the English side.  Along the way he described the seascape, the history, and current events in the areas he passed.

He was also a climate skeptic, and a popularizer of Henrik Svensmark's hypothesis that climate change is driven by changes in the Sun's magnetic field.

Rest in peace.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Motorcycle want

What's so cool about this bike, other than the sidecar?

The MG-42:


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TSA checkpoint computer reachable from the Internet

And by "reachable" I mean subject to rubber-gloved probulation:
LAS VEGAS — Black Hat USA — A Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) system at airport security checkpoints contains default backdoor passwords, and one of the devices running at the San Francisco Airport was sitting on the public Internet.
Renowned security researcher Billy Rios, who is director of threat intelligence at Qualys, Wednesday here at Black Hat USA gave details on security weaknesses he discovered in both the Morpho Detection Itemiser 3 trace-explosives and residue detection system, and the Kronos 4500 time clock system used by TSA agents to clock in and out with their fingerprints, which could allow an attacker to easily gain user access to the devices.

Device vendors embed hardcoded passwords for their own maintenance or other technical support.
Airport security?  We have Top Men working on it.  Top.  Men.


Need coffee.

In the meantime, Here's some Chopin played by Horowitz.  Yeah, I'm phoning it in.  Didn't you see the bit about the coffee?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What happened to all the global warming?

This explains it as well as anything.


UPDATE 9 August 2014 16:07: John emails to point out the original source of this, William Briggs (Statistician to the Stars!).  I've linked to Briggs a number of times over the years, typically for his climate science insights.

Bob Dylan (with Johnny Cash) - Girl From The North Country

Country Music's roots go deep, and its influence goes far beyond Nashville.  No less than America's greatest songwriter released in 1969 what can only be described as a country music album, Nashville Skyline.  No less than Johnny Cash - at the height of his commercial success - sang with him on this track.  In fact, the album got its launch with an appearance by Dylan on Cash's TV show.

So why do so many artists go through a "country period" (a recent example of this is Jon Bon Jovi)?  Commercial success is a cynical reason, although Nashville Skyline was Dylan's third best selling album.  A kinder answer is that the roots of country music do indeed run deep, and are entwined with so many facets of this land that it's more or less inescapable to an artist who inspires to greatness.

In any case, this song has been covered by pretty much everyone from Waylon Jennings to Rod Stewart.  Niche, shattered.

Girl From The North Country (Songwriter: Bob Dylan)
If you're traveling in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
'Cause she once was a true love of mine

If you're goin' when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see she has a coat so warm
To keep her from the howling winds
Please see for her hair hangs long
It rolls and flows all down her breasts
Please see for me that her hair's hanging long
For that's the way I remember her best
I'm a-wondering if she remembers me at all
Many times I've often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day
So if you're traveling in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to the one who lives there
'Cause she once was a true love of mine

Friday, August 8, 2014

My Little Pwnie Awards

All work and no play makes your average CISSP Security d00d a dull boy.  Or girl.  So once a year the community gathers together to celebrate the most righteous pwnage seen over the last 12 months.  It's that time of year again, when the Black Hat Briefings security conference shows the greatest security research (this year sadly without me).

Still, the Pwnie Awards bring some retrospective and, yes, humor to a field that sometimes seems to be nothing but a vale of tears.  And so with no further ado, this year's bleeding turkeys, hung on display for your amusement and edification:
Best Server-Side Bug: (Surprise, surprise) Heartbleed, credited to Neel Mehta and Codenomicon. Heartbleed is perhaps the most famous security trouble of the year, which brought more attention to the many drawbacks of SSL. Although Mehta and Codenomicon were lauded for their work in solving the problem, the open-source community was nominated for the Pwnie for "Most Epic Fail," being that the flaw existed for two years.
I actually think that this deserves a better award than this - Heartbleed is probably the worst security bug I've ever seen, and I've seen literally thousands of them over twenty years or so.  Epic, epic, epic fail (Pwnie Awards fail?).
Lamest Vendor Response: AVG, saying that a software weakness was "by design" and therefore not a vulnerability. This offense even beat out another nominee: "Daniel" from Open Cert who replied to a researcher's request for the appropriate email address for vulnerability disclosures, with "it was not ignored dick head why lie! are you a professional or not? professionals don't need to lie to prove a point they use facts!"
Heh.  I'm going a bit out on a limb here, but it seems like calling someone a "dick head" who's reporting a security bug in your product is the express lane to Internet fame.  Just a guess, though.  But mad props to the AVG support team for bringing the definitive "arrogant junior engineer" dismissivness.  Yeah, we meant to do that stupid thing you're talking about.  Totally.  Amirite?

Others at the link.  And there's this song, too, which is totally how Security rolls, yo.

They in the dark 'cos they got no intrusion detection ...


Quote of the Day, corrupt government insider edition

The New York Crank, in a comment at Comrade Misfit's place about how former NSA Director Alexander is raking in sweet, sweet consulting fees now that he's "retired":
Let's make some clear distinctions here. When Alexander retires and share government secrets with corporate entities for his own personal enrichment, it's called strengthening bank security. When Edward Snowden shares secrets with the American public for no money, it's treason.
Qui bono, who benefits?  Is it us, or them?  Observe the reaction of the Powers That Be, and you will observe everything.
The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. 
- Lord Acton

Yeah, yeah, Atomic War

Yadda yadda.  Go read.

Is it me, or is there a whole lot less of this sort of hyperventilating ZOMG Nuclear War!!!! sort of thing in the Press these days?  A cynic would suggest that a biased completely in the tank for the Democrats Main Stream Media don't want to draw attention to places where nuclear (pronounced NUK-luar) conflagration might happen.  You know, Ukraine, Israel, Libya.  Iraq.  New York.

I mean, it's an election year, and a Democrat in the White House is heavily engaged in Smart Diplomacy™.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Solving the military reduction in force problem

Chris Lynch points out this Commentary Magazine article about how the Military is being spread dangerously thin by the reduction in funding:
The panel also found that currently contemplated reductions in Army end-strength go too far. “We believe the Army and the Marine Corps should not be reduced below their pre-9/11 end strengths–490,000 active-duty soldiers in the Army and 182,000 active Marines,” the panel concluded. Yet on the current trajectory the army is likely to wind up with 420,000 soldiers and the Corps with 175,000 marines.
So the Army and Marine Corps are 75,000 heads short, or will be soon.  The solution?  Scale back the mission.

We have that many troops in Europe.  Bring them home, and let Europe pay for its own defense.  This doesn't solve the problem of the impending retirement of 50% of the Air Force planes and the 20% drop in Navy ships over what's needed, but pulling out of Europe will cut the mission requirements for those services as well.

Given that (as the article points out) all the Republicans care about is not raising taxes and all the Democrats care about is not cutting entitlements, de-scope the mission.  Especially since it's a mission that is protecting bloated socialist welfare states that mostly don't much like Americans anyway.

It's high time for a Peace Dividend that benefits Americans.  The Cold War has been over for a quarter century now.  Declare victory in Europe and get out.

"Once you add a web browser to a car, it's open"

"I may not be able to write a Bluetooth exploit, but I know I can exploit web browsers."
Black Hat 2014 At last year’s Black Hat USA, Charlie Miller, security engineer at Twitter and Apple-cracker extraordinaire, and Chris Valasek, director of security intelligence at IOActive, showed delegates how to hack a car. This year they demoed a system that can stop any such hacks dead.

Over the past 12 months, the duo have been going through publicly available information about car systems and hacking their own vehicles. The results of their research is that while it is possible to remotely hack – and in some cases take limited control of a vehicle – it’s very difficult and will only work with certain models.
What's interesting is the method.  The rush to "Internet-enable" the car means that they're web-enabling the car, which means - well, you know what that means.  But the news isn't all bad - this looks to be pretty promising:
But, as it turns out, protecting against car hacking is a relatively simple matter, and the two have put together a cheap little board and software – dubbed the Can-no hackalator 3000 – which can be fitted to any car – or so we're told – and stop hacks using a old, and much maligned, piece of security software: an intrusion detection system.

"IDS sucks in computers, but it turns out they work for cars because cars are simple," said Miller.

While IDS systems on big networks can fail to spot dodgy traffic, with cars the networks are so basic and the messages sent so simple that an IDS system is really effective. Furthermore the device is car agnostic and very easy to use, it was claimed.
Simplicity FTW.  More security news tomorrow, because it's Black Hat season and there's a lot to talk about.

Happy Birthday

Another year around the sun.  Bah. Things actually were sort of like this when I was a kid.

Dang kids these days with their "Twitter" don't know what they missed.   And getoffamylawn ...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Breaking news

Thus endeth the Public Service Announcement.

About the only thing that can make me homesick for Massachusetts

Missing the New England Blogshoot.

Of course, it wasn't in Massachusetts, because once again there were enough guns to invade Canada.  Sorry I missed it, guys.

Quote of the Day: Four Rules edition

From Dave H in a comment here:
Only you can prevent friendly fire.
Dave, the Internetz that you just won can be picked up at the Camp Borepatch main gate.  Use the usual password.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Record soccer crowd in Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Manchester United thrilled a record crowd with a brilliant opening goal - and even Cristiano Ronaldo's unexpected entrance proved futile for Real Madrid.

Ashley Young scored twice in the first half, and United beat Madrid 3-1 on Saturday in front of 109,318 fans at Michigan Stadium. It was the largest crowd to see a soccer game in the United States, breaking the mark of 101,799 set at the Rose Bowl for the 1984 Olympic final.


"That was incredible," United's Michael Keane said. "Obviously, it is the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of, and it is for a friendly in the States. I've always heard they don't care for our football, but there were 109,000 people out there. That's pretty crazy anywhere in the world."
Yeah, no joke.  That's a lot of people at any sporting event.

"I'm afraid of the cops and I'm white!"


And Comrade Misfit has really been on a roll lately:

Steam trains back for another run.

Are we too used to low-tech military opponents?  What happens when we get a high tech one?

What did the British ruling class think of General Douglas Haig?  I hadn't heard that one, and I'm pretty well read on history.  Can't say I'm particularly surprised.  And the obligatory Black Adder reference:

Record breaking 1934 plane flies again.  These weren't just high tech machines, they were works of art.  From the depths of the Great Depression.

Happy blogiversary, Comrade!

Well that explains something

I've been dealing with a fair amount of fatigue lately, and have mostly been chalking it up to stress.  And so it was much to my surprise when the doctor's office called and said that the blood work from my physical last week showed a chronic low grade infection.  I'd say "asymptomatic", but fatigue is exactly what you'd expect.  They're starting me on ten days of antibiotics.

Huh.  This will be a controlled experiment as to whether modern medicine beats "suck it up, cupcake".  I look forward to the results with a keen scientific curiosity.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Christopher HItchens on Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.

From 1990.

You're welcome.

Videoconferencing works this way too, sometimes

Change the focus of the eye

Change your world.

It's the same words.  Just different.  That makes all the difference.

The Lord Looked Down From Heaven Upon The Children Of Men, To See If There Were Any That Did Understand, And Seek God.

And the Lord found them.

Embedding is disabled, but click through.  It's worth your time, as is this:

The kingdom of the Father is spread upon the Earth and men do not see it.
- The Gospel of Thomas

See it:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The guns of August

One hundred years ago, the German Empire declared war of France.  The cascade had slipped beyond the bounds of restraint and the landslide had begun.  The commemorations are happening all over Europe.  I found this one to be quite moving:

888,246 red ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, one for each of the Commonwealth's war dead.  It's worth your while to click through for the many other pictures.


On my bucket list

Chicken Mom posts her bucket list, and quite a good one it is.  I don't think I have a complete list, but this is absolutely on it.

I want to rent a motorcycle and ride from here:

(Maraetai Beach, New Zealand, outside of Auckland) to this:

The Green Dragon Pub, Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand.  The two look to be about a hundred or hundred and fifty miles apart, depending on the road you take.

And the great thing about a motorcycle is that you don't need to mess around with right hand drive cars!

Howard Shore - They Grey Havens (from the film Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King)

Image via the Wik
While symphony orchestras across the West struggle to keep the wolf from the door, I keep saying that Classical music is alive and well.  It's just gone to the Movies.

Howard Shore is perhaps the greatest living classical composer - at least that's what's said by three Academy Awards, three Golden Globe awards, and four Grammys.  While filthy lucre is perhaps not the true measure of the composer, J. S. Bach and the great Beethoven himself found that reward to be quite consoling in their old ages.

The thing is, music here is in a supporting role.  As such, it probably has to be more emotionally engaging because it is intended for a mass audience.  Strangely, that makes it very likely a greater challenge than most "modern" Classical music that is commissioned by bureaucratic panels of Grey Faceless Men (and Women).

A cynic would say that since it must needs appeal broadly, it has to be good, not novel.  And since modern art worships novelty uber alles, the Arbiters Of Taste® look down their trust fund noses at music like this. Everyone else loves it.  See Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Grammys, etc.  Not to mention box office take which at the end of the day drives the whole game. 

It's quite interesting listening to this as the piece develops.  The scene is a final farewell between good friends, a farewell that is sprung as a surprise.  Horns sound, signalling time to board the ship that will take one of the company away for ever.  The music takes on a melancholy as the friends realize that this is the final parting.  The theme that Shore used throughout the three films for this companionship sounds, but in a restrained and yes, sad, way.  Then the chord changes, with the introduction of a new theme, still melancholy from the parting, but with a note of something that can only be described as hope.  The ship sails into the sunset, leaving the friends behind on the shore.  Roll credits.

Our emotions listen to music as much, or perhaps even more than to the dialog on the screen.  This is the full measure of those emotions.  Not novel, but accessible.  Classical music is very much alive and well, in the Cinema.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Gunny finds some peace and quiet


Which reminds me that I saw a brand spanking new Victory motorcycle today.  Sweet looking (and sounding) bike.

Gone fishing

Actually riding. Life is good.

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What the real Obamacare debate is about

Word.  This analysis is unimprovable.

The awesomest recruitment posters ever

Isegoria has a bunch more.  They are very, very well done.

Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Image via the Wik
It's said that the hill music of the Appalachia Scots-Irish is the Ur-Country music.  But they brought that music over from the old country - the British Isles.  The similarities between English, Scottish, and especially Irish folk music to this hill music shows that the styles have only diverged a short time ago in historical terms.  The all share common tropes, especially stories that tell a tale and music that allows a display of the performer's virtuosity.

And they're all being played today, and new music is being written in these styles today.

Richard Thompson is an English singer/songwriter whose muse hails from so close to the Ur-taproot of music that his songs have been covered by R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, Nanci Griffith, The Pointer Sisters, and Los Lobos.  Today's song is an acoustic rendering of a story with a motorcycle, a shotgun, and a grieving girlfriend.  If that ain't Country music, then it should be.

1952 Vincent Black Lightning  (Songwriter: Richard Thompson)
Oh says Red Molly to James “That’s a fine motorbike.
A girl could feel special on any such like”
Says James to Red Molly “My hat’s off to you
It’s a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952.
And I’ve seen you at the corners and cafes it seems
Red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme”
And he pulled her on behind and down to Boxhill they did ride

Oh says James to Red Molly “Here’s a ring for your right hand
But I’ll tell you in earnest I’m a dangerous man.
For I’ve fought with the law since I was seventeen,
I robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine.
Now I’m 21 years, I might make 22
And I don’t mind dying, but for the love of you.
And if fate should break my stride
Then I’ll give you my Vincent to ride”

“Come down, come down, Red Molly” called Sergeant McRae
“For they’ve taken young James Adie for armed robbery.
Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing inside.
Oh come down, Red Molly to his dying bedside”
When she came to the hospital, there wasn’t much left
He was running out of road, he was running out of breath
But he smiled to see her cry
He said “I’ll give you my Vincent to ride”

Says James “In my opinion, there’s nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl.
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeves won’t do,
Ah, they don’t have a soul like a Vincent 52”
Oh he reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys
Said “I’ve got no further use for these.
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome,
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home”
And he gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride
Nothing in this world beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl.  Yeah, baby.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Manhattan Transfer - Chanson D`Amour

A very credible rendition of the great old Edith Piaf song.  Makes me want to foxtrot.

A blast from the past

#2 Son.  18 months old.

Why are Progressives so violent?

UK Government Minister: I had more death threats from the Greens than from IRA terrorists:

Former UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson - recently sacked in Prime Minister David Cameron's reshuffle - said today that he received more death threats from green activists than ever he did from Republican and Loyalist terrorists during his stint as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland posting is considered one of the more dangerous jobs in British politics, which is why the incumbent - unlike with most cabinet positions - is automatically given 24-hour armed protection.
But according to Paterson, his stint as Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was much more perilous.
I soon realised that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way. I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland. My home address was circulated worldwide with an incitement to trash it; I was burnt in effigy by Greenpeace as I was recovering from an operation to save my eyesight. But I did not set out to be popular with lobbyists and I never forgot that they were not the people I was elected to serve.
Stay classy, Progs.

Friday Gun pr0n

Stretch emails in this yummy picture of his Colt Woodsman.  I've never heard of anyone who sold one who didn't regret it.

On my bucket list

Chicken Mom asks a question that has a depth, like Shakespeare describes the Bay of France, that has a bottom that mayn't be found:  what's on your bucket list?  There's some thought about this that I shall endeavor to address, but the answer includes this:

Antipodes on two wheels.  Hobbits optional, but good local pubs are mandatory.  Err, and Uncle Jay along adds 2,000 awesome points.